An Appalachian Love Story
by Roger Alan Skipper

Chase Road/July 2015

Poverty and pipe dreams mark the lives of Sid Lore and Janet Hollar, the outsider couple—he, from Tennessee, she, unable to speak in tongues (the mark of a true believer in her Pentecostal church)—at the heart of Skipper's promising debut....Skipper's earthy prose helps paint a vivid picture of rough-hewn Appalachia, though the dialect can wear thin. This rocky romance will appeal to those who take it dark. (Sept.)From Publishers Weekly

If you love to read, read this book. -- Lawrence Sutin

In the tradition of such acclaimed southern novelists as Tom Franklin and William Gay, Skipper is a remarkable storyteller. -- Howard Frank Mosher

Skipper writes in the richly textured language that is unmistakably the voice of Appalachia. -- Erik Reece

[A] welcome addition to fiction set in contemporary Appalachia. This book is terrific. -- Chris Offut

[A]n unsentimental, clear-eyed look at what happens to people caught between hope and limitation." -- Barbara Hurd

[B]rings both protagonists and environment to life in powerful language that ultimately becomes a sort of hard-edged poetry -- William Gay, author of Provinces of Night

In their tiny, secluded mountain community, Sid Lore and Janet Hollar are misfits: Sid because he wasn’t born here, Janet because she can’t satisfy her Pentecostal church’s demand to speak in tongues. The two drift together and get married, and soon the optimistic, independent newlyweds vow to forge their own reality. Appalachian life, however, proves difficult: family and friends die or move away and Sid’s work-related injuries make it impossible to earn a living. As his enters a rut of odd jobs, bar brawls, and dog fights, Janet discovers new worth — and a hidden talent for destruction. Just when they don't think they can sink any lower, the "superior" outside world discovers their mountains, their lake, their forests, and their “rednecks” — which brings new problems. Incisive prose, vivid characters, and a compulsively readable narrative make this novel about lives cramped and cornered by economic and cultural forces a stunning debut.

About the Author

Roger Alan Skipper has been a potato picker, mason's tender, amusement park worker, roofer, building contractor, lumber and commodities buyer, and manager of a retail building supply outlet.

At the age of 48, shortly after paying his youngest son's final college tuition bill, he walked away from his career in the lumber and building industry to pursue a college degree of his own. He graduated summa cum laude from a four-year school and received the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Graduate Fellowship, which propelled him through the graduate writing program at Vermont College.

To keep his hands callused and his mind tidy, in addition to his writing, he's a luthier of professional-quality acoustic instruments (www.skipperstrings.com). He lives with his wife Connie near Oakland, Maryland. There he also plays bluegrass music and wanders around in the forest of Appalachia, where he has not yet lived his entire life. His novels are set in this landscape, in fictional Union County, West Virginia.